The Shaded Truths of White Lies

By | April 13, 2016

On the surface, a white lie is something that often goes unchallenged or ignored due to the insignificance of the statement. However, those individuals who develop a habit of constantly shading the truth by invoking a white lie to enhance a story or simply advance their motives are a perpetual source of fascination to the psychoanalytic community.

Patrick Mahony, who has written multiple books related to the work of Sigmund Freud, notes a quirk in the way truth and lying can be compared. When someone is lying, there’s almost always some level of truth baked into the tale, which gives it at least a shred of credibility with the listener. However, someone who is speaking the truth has no basis for infusing their tale with a lie.

When it comes to understanding the need to tell a white lie, since it’s only a step or two away from simply telling the truth, a host of possible considerations come into play. One is a need to express sensitivity toward another individual, who may be a friend.

While everyone will say that they appreciate honesty in an individual, a blunt approach to that philosophy usually leads to negative consequences. Designations such as “tactless” or “rude” subsequently permeate any analysis of this approach.

Fear of being ostracized or punished in some manner is another factor to consider in the telling of white lies, according to Patrick Mahony. Repressive regimes aren’t known for their acceptance of reality, which is why citizens of such regions are essentially forced into the protective cocoon of white lies.

In some cases, Patrick Mahony has seen individuals who prefer to state a white lie because it delays an uncomfortable consideration. Meanwhile, some will use it to enhance to enhance their social status or otherwise be seen as a beneficial alternative of the simple truth.

One simple lie may be seen by the person telling it as the cornerstone of some requirement. That often leads to a succession of white lies, which can help someone rise to a certain level. However, discovery of this pattern usually results in a resounding crash in which the pain from the fall is that much deeper.

Patrick Mahony knows that such things as qualifiers and anxiety can give away white lies, yet some have the ability to avoid such telltale signs, which can make treatment of any issues that much harder.